Heath — first, glad you finished the book. Secondly, don’t you just love paradox? You are so right that we told you to be a better listener and then told you to quit gabbing so much that you can’t get your work done in your regular ten hour day. The point is — to be effective and to be a happier camper you’ll do well to learn to do both a little bit better.
You could boil the success strategies down to one word, FOCUS. So, while chatting with Alison, refuse even a sideways glance at your email. Focus on her and on the conversation at hand. Your relationship will improve 10 fold.
Then, hang a “THINKING” sign on your cubicle entry and politely defer co-worker chats while you focus on that time-sensitive project. You might even get outa there by 5 p.m.!
Be sure to give people a heads-up about yourenew and strange behaviors. Explain why you’re trying them out and ask for support as you become a better listener and better time-manager — all at the same time.